The Best Running Shoes For The City2Surf

These running shoes will help you conquer the City2Surf

No, your beat-up old trainers will not suffice. Invest in some fresh kicks for this year’s City2Surf – your feet will thank you

EVERY YEAR, THE 14km race from Sydney’s CBD to Bondi Beach known as the City2Surf reinforces its claim to being not only the most popular fun run in Australia, but the entire world. The City2Surf draws around 70,000 entrants each year, and part of its popularity can be attributed to its intermediate level distance.

No, we’re not saying the City2Surf is easy – anyone who has ever faced the unforgiving climb up heartbreak hill can tell you as much. But the race is achievable enough for countless runners to accomplish without the need for a dedicated multi-week training plan like a half or full marathon requires, while still being hard enough to feel like a step up from your regular 5km hit-out – enough to warrant a self-congratulating social media post at the very least.

Therein lies a slight problem. The City2Surf exists precisely between the two major distances running apparel brands primarily design shoes for. It’s longer than the maximum 10km you’d want to run in your daily trainers, but not quite long enough to warrant an investment in some fancy – perhaps even carbon-plated – race day shoes. So, what shoes should you wear for the City2Surf?

What type of shoes are best for the City2Surf?

The best shoes for the City2Surf will combine a number of qualities that will assist you during the race. Most importantly, you should look for a shoe that boasts features promoting speed, cushioning and comfort.

Everyone imagines themselves winning, but unless you’re going to be clocking a sub-40 minute time, we’d generally recommend staying away from carbon-plated supershoes. They may speed you up, but they also tend to be on the pricier end of the spectrum. There are plenty of other options that will also make you run faster, without breaking the bank.

Finding a shoe with ample cushioning that provides a good deal of comfort on the foot should also be towards the top of your list of priorities. That may mean going for a chunkier shoe that’s a little heavier, although this isn’t a marathon we’re talking about here. The City2Surf is first and foremost a fun run, so there’s no need to go for an ultra-lightweight, hyper-responsive shoe that offers minimal support.

What are the best shoes for the City2Surf?

Now that you know what to look for, we’ve made the rest of your job even easier. Here are our picks of the best shoes to run the City2Surf in. There are a variety of options here, some that will help you perform at your best and others that will simply get you across the finish line.

Hoka Clifton 9City2Surf

Hoka continues to excel in cushioning with the much-awarded Clifton 9. The latest addition to the celebrated Clifton line strips back excess weight and adds stack height to create an eminently light and smooth running experience. Featuring an updated EVA midsole and a refined upper, these shoes offer cloud-like comfort without compromising on responsiveness. The Meta-Rocker technology ensures a smooth transition from heel to toe, making the Clifton 9 an ideal choice for a plush and supportive ride on any terrain.


Brooks Ghost 16City2Surf

The newly released Brooks Ghost 16 comes from a line of bestselling shoes, and there’s a reason for their popularity. It has an engineered mesh upper and a decently thick (but not too thick) midsole, which is made of nitrogen-infused DNA LOFT v3 foam. The midsole also has a segmented crash pad for a smoother heel-to-toe-to-takeoff transition.

To us, the Ghost 16 proves that you don’t need all the flashy accoutrements and exaggerated features of a super shoe to run at your best. The Ghost 16 is a workhorse, and it’s more than capable of acing the City2Surf.

Check out our full review of the Brooks Ghost 16 here.


New Balance FuelCell Rebel v4City2Surf

The FC Rebel v4 is an up-tempo shoe that represents the culmination of years of innovation at New Balance. The fourth iteration of the Rebel has a taller and wider sole than previous versions. As any knowledgeable sneakerhead will know, it is typically the narrower soles that offer the most energy return and propulsion, but the Rebel v4 is even bouncier than its predecessors thanks to an enhanced FuelCell foam midsole. The FC Rebel v4 is also shockingly lightweight – weighing in at a measly 218 grams.

Check out our full review of the FC Rebels here.


Nike Vaporfly 3City2Surf

The Vaporfly 3 is the latest in a long line of top-quality carbon-plated Nike running shoes. Engineered for elite performance in road racing, these shoes feature an upgraded ZoomX foam midsole, offering exceptional energy return. We know we said that supershoes aren’t the go-to for the City2Surf, but the Vaporfly 3 is one of the few shoes specifically designed to handle distances from 10-21km.


Nike Pegasus 41

There’s something about a shoe having a large number next to its name that lends a heightened level of prestige to it. And few shoes come close to the level of iterations as Nike’s Pegasus 41. You might be wondering how the 41st iteration of a shoe could possibly improve upon its predecessors, but the Pegasus 41 makes plenty of tweaks. It’s the first shoe in the Pegasus line to feature ReactX foam, which takes shape in a full-length foam. plate in the mdisole. According to Nike, the ReactX foam provides 13 per cent more energy return than the foam used in the Pegasus 40.

The Pegasus 41 also utilises Air Zoom units in both the forefoot and heel for supreme cushioning. It features an improved ride too, resulting in a shoe that responds to your foot, adapts to its shape and provides cushioning and comfort where you need it most. The ideal alternative to Nike’s pricier Vaporfly 3.

Men’s Health was on the scene for the launch of the Pegasus 41 at the first ever Nike Pacific Running Summit earlier this year. Read our full report here.


Asics Novablast 4

Asics’ gel-based shoes may garner most of the attention, but it’s the Novablast 4 that we think best suits the City2Surf. The shoe utilises a visually striking design, particularly in the tall heel, which holds a huge amount of cushioning and boasts higher levels of energy return than previous Novablasts. Elsewhere, a tongue wing construction in the upper improves the fit for a stabilising, supportive feel.


Adidas Adizero Boston 12

While they’re designed for the Boston marathon, we think Adidas’ Adizero Boston 12s will hold up just as well during the City2Surf. Built for mid to long-distance running, the Adizero Boston 12s bring a race-day feeling to every hit-out. Stepping into them, you’ll immediately notice a propulsive feel that comes from glass-fibre infused Energyrods, which assist with energy return by reducing the amount of energy lost underfoot. Exactly what you need to push you up heartbreak hill.


Puma Velocity Nitro 3

The Velocity Nitro 3s are all about blending comfort and speed, with Puma’s patented NITRO technology delivering superior responsiveness and cushioning. There’s also the heel spoiler and Pumagrip outsole, which both provide enhanced stability, for the less sure-footed runners among us.


Asics Gel-Nimbus 26

These shoes combine ultra-supportive PureGel cushioning with a plush collar, offering unbelievably soft landings and a luxurious experience for your feet. The stylish design can’t be ignored either, ensuring you’ll make a statement whether you’re conquering arduous running routes or just strolling to the coffee shop.


Under Armour Infinite Elite

Under Armour’s renowned HOVR cushioning takes its latest form in the Infinity Elite. The new HOVR+ midsole keeps your legs feeling fresh for as long as you can run by reducing impact and bolstering energy return. Whether this is your first or 15th City2Surf, those aren’t qualities you’ll want to pass up.



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By Cayle Reid

Cayle Reid is a fan of everything sports and fitness. He spends his free time at the gym, on his surfboard or staying up late watching sports in incompatible time zones.

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